Monthly Archives: February 2014

Do you favourite your favourites?

In the past few weeks, I’ve had a couple of conversations on social media about what it means when you ‘favourite’ a tweet. Do you favourite tweets because they made you think/laugh? Do you use your favourites as a sort of bookmark? Or something else?

'Star Gold' by Danilo Rizzuti

Personally, I tend not to favourite tweets I simply enjoyed/found thought-provoking – I am much more likely to mention, RT and/or reply to these. If I mark a tweet as a favourite, it’s usually because it looks like it links to an interesting article or blog post that I would like to come back to later. I often favourite posts while my son is awake, to remind me to read them once he’s asleep as I don’t get to read anything properly while I’m focused on him. I only even RT or mention posts after reading them. It seems strange to me that someone would mention a whole blog post without reading it first as to me it’s an endorsement but I know that some people do…

I do admit to sometimes favouriting tweets that mention someone other that the person who tweeted, which a friend recently called out as being a bit passive aggressive, although they admitted to doing it themselves. I hadn’t thought of it like that before but can kind of see it. I don’t mind it myself but what do you think? And how do you use the twitter favourite button? Do share your thoughts below, I’d love to hear different views on this!

It’s the little things…

I remember the chocolates…

This is an old poem, which was published in X magazine back in 2006 and although it first appears that the poem laments the imperfect nature of relationships (which perhaps at the time, was my intention) that’s not how I see it now.

I chose to share this poem here today as on Valentine’s Day, expectations can run high. Some people may be lucky enough to receive grand gestures – ranging from a proposal in house filled with roses to the declaration on Facebook that they are ‘in a relationship.’ However, many of us in relationships will be giving and receiving much smaller tokens, if at all. Is today important? Only if you want it to be… Like most things, it is what you make of it and let’s be honest, relationships can never be summed up with one simple gesture. A box of chocolates, however spectacular, is not representative of the bond between two people.

Heart Shaped Chocolate by Serge Bertasius Photography

Relationships are complicated. I don’t mean that in a Facebook status way (which would be a different post entirely) but in that there are so many strands and seasons over the course of each relationship that when it comes down to it, it’s really the simple things that count.

It’s the simple things

We were both at home
I was working
And you were on holiday
You thought we’d hang out
I reminded you I was working

You nodded and left the room
Spent most of the day upstairs
So as not to disturb me

But your silence seeped through the ceiling
Landed heavy on my shoulders

I stopped to make a cup of tea
Didn’t ask if you wanted one

Later, you came down
Silently, and with your hands over your eyes
Like a toddler who thinks he can’t be seen if he can’t see
You put the kettle on

You tiptoed across the kitchen and then,
Fingers wrapped around the door handle, you whispered
“Just pretend I’m not here”

The corner of your lip turned up
In a half smile

The silence slid from my shoulders.

Image Credit: Heart Shaped Chocolate by Serge Bertasius Photography at freedigitalphotos.net

FGM – Time to break the chain

White Orchid

Today is the International day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). Sponsored by the UN, it’s a day for raising awareness of the practice and calling for an end to it.

What is FGM/C?
FGM/C refers to several harmful practices that involve the deliberate cutting of the female genitals. It is estimated that around three million girls worldwide, most under 15, are ‘cut’ each year. FGM/C is most prevalent in Africa, some countries in Asia and the Middle East, but it is also practised all over the world including countries where it is illegal. In is estimated that in the UK around 23,000 girls are cut every year. There has recently been some debate as to whether legislation is an effective way to end the practice.

FGM/C has no basis in any religion and no health benefits and can be extremely harmful. The World Health Organisation (WHO) outlines some of the possible short and long-term consequences here. To find out more, watch this TEDx Talk with leading anti-FGM activist (UK) Leyla Hussein.

I first learned of FGM/C when I was at university and someone shared their personal experience with me. I was horrified by the very idea of it but in an attempt to understand why it continues, I tried to put myself in the shoes of those women who allow it to happen to their daughters. I wrote a poem but did nothing with it until recently, when I posted it here.

Although the poem suggests that this is an ongoing cycle, it doesn’t have to be. I believe that it is women who can and eventually will break the chain. The key lies, as it so often does, in education. The United Nations Volunteer programme works tales a community-based approach, working to combat FGM/C via education and awareness-raising. There are also several charities and organisations across the UK dedicated to raising awareness of the issue and educating communities as to the health implications of this practice.

What can I do to help?
At this point I’ll hand over to Leyla Hussain, who outlined what needs to happen next in her recent article for the Huffington Post.

You can also support the organisations (by donating, fundraising and/or volunteering) who are actively working to put an end to the cycle of FGM/C.

These include:

Daughters of Eve

The Desert Flower Foundation

Forward UK

Orchid Project

FGM National Clinical Group, who work with women who have been affected

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme

Photo credit: Orchid Flower by pakorn at freedigitalphotos.net